Project-Based Learning at ISSH: Humanitarian Projects on a Digital Platform

Starting from September of 2018, SUSU has been officially implementing project-based training within master’s studies. Project-based learning programmes are presented practically in all Schools and Institutes of SUSU.

The Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities, within implementation of project-based learning at the university, is launching five projects, each of which is unique in its own way. Each project becomes a platform for fulfillment of tasks that are prioritized for the university at national and international levels. Director of the Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities, Doctor of Sciences (Philology), Professor Elena Ponomareva told us about innovative nature and advantages of projects.

“All projects of the Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities are principally interdisciplinary, and master’s degree students take part in practically all of them,” emphasizes Elena Ponomareva. “Students majoring in Humanities are developing in accordance with requirements of the modern world, and are submerged into digital reality, though they maintain high quality level of scientific content of projects drawing on unique experience of ISSH Scientific Schools’ operation. The most important is that all the projects are applicable and therefore are in-demand in the society, employers included.”

“It is important to note that working on a project fosters a modern professional who is mobile, hard-working, and ready to work in a team and flawlessly perform one’s functions. At that, a project can’t negatively affect education quality, it’s likely to be the opposite: work schedule is very tough and delays or failure to complete a task due time is inacceptable here. A student working within a project is the executor who is responsible before the customer. If he or she detains work of the team, fails to fulfill one’s duties and does not perform one’s functions, he or she will have to leave the project.”

Virtual Museum of South Ural’s Writers

Among the projects that are innovative not only for the university but for the region as a whole is the Virtual Museum of South Ural’s Writers.

“In Chelyabinsk, there was not a single museum of South Ural’s writers until now,” notes Elena Ponomareva. “Though such museum is successfully functioning in the neighbouring Yekaterinburg. Literature potential of the Chelyabinsk region is significant and it excites lively interest from all-Russian literary and scientific community; therefore, the region badly needs such project, let along that at first it is only implemented in a virtual format.”

The problem of the lack of information about development of literature in the region is proposed to be resolved by creating a virtual version of the museum. The ordering customer of the Museum of South Ural’s Writers is the Ministry of Culture of the Chelyabinsk region. At SUSU, the project is being implemented at the ISSH Department of Russian Language and Literature (project leader is Doctor of Sciences (Philology), Professor Tatiana Semyan).

The Museum assembled out of “puzzle pieces”, which are virtual museums/apartments of certain writers, at first will be created on the basis of research materials on artworks of two outstanding personas of the poetry community of Chelyabinsk – Nikolay Godina and Yanis Grants. Master’s degree students majoring in Philology will be filling the Museum’s slots with content. The project also involves bachelor’s degree students of the 3rd and the 4th years of study from the Institute of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (2 programmers) who are responsible for digital implementation of the project, and bachelor’s degree students of the 3rd and the 4th years of study from the Institute of Architecture and Construction (2 designers). Only Higher School of Economics in Moscow has analogous product. Skills acquired in the course of developing the unique virtual museum can become an essential competitive advantage of a master’s studies graduate who has the experience of participation in a real project.

Virtual Museum of Artist Vasily Neyasov

Similar by its essence though filled with a different content project is the Virtual Museum of South Ural’s Artists. Project supervisor is Professor, Doctor of Arts Natalia Parfentyeva. The purpose of the project is to create a virtual version of museum of life history and artworks of Vasily Neyasov, as well as carry out art analysis of the artist’s artworks in the context of historic periods.

Ordering customers of the unique virtual museum is the Ministry of Culture of the Chelyabinsk region and the regional Ministry of Education and Science. The project is featuring master’s degree students of the second year of study majoring in History of Arts and Computer Technology.

Vasily Neyasov “A Guy from the Urals”

EUсheck (Eurofactchecking)

Within implementation of the EUcheck international project (project leader is the Dean of the ISSH Faculty of Journalism, Lyudmila Shesterkina), the SUSU Faculty of Journalism is actively cooperating with the European Journalism Training Association (EJTA, Belgium).

EU Check international journalistic project is a cooperation of schools of journalism during elections in European Parliament in 2019. The purpose of cooperation is verification of information, organisation of fact-checking and teaching this process to the new generation of journalists.

Today, identification of fake information in mass media of Russia and the world is as topical as ever. The flow of such information in the period of information warfare only increases. At the present stage, both Russia and Europe are interested in filtrationn of information and putting aside everything unnecessary. Among objectives of the Faculty of Journalism within the Eurofactchecking project is development of a media platform called “EU Check” in the Internet space, software tools of which include an innovative educational module called “Fact checking”.

Within the period of elections for European Parliament, students of the Faculty of Journalism are going to take part in transnational fact checking.

Public and Digital History

The next important initiative of the Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities is the Public and Digital History. This is a project targeted at re-branding of the Chelyabinsk region. The model of the region’s re-brending has been developed due to cooperative efforts of the Department of Russian and Foreign History (project leader is Doctor of Sciences (History), Professor Olga Nikonova) and ISSH’s REC for Cultural and Historical Research. The project significantly contributes to improving the region’s image, which is especially important within getting prepared for the SCO Summit in 2020.

Within this project, a virtual excursion around the capital of the Southern Ural is going to be elaborated for Chelyabinsk residents and for visitors of the city. Just like all projects of the ISSH, the Public and Digital History project is of interdisciplinary nature and involves teaching staff and employees of the ISSH, bachelor’s and master’s degree students of the SUSU Department of Russian and Foreign History. The cooperation involves teaching staff and students of the Department of Social Studies and Political Science, the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications, employees of the REC for Eurasian Studies, the ISSH REC for Cultural and Historical Research, teaching staff and students of the ILIC Department of International Relations and Regional Studies, and teaching staff and students of the ISTS.

In the process of working on the project, students will be able to acquire the unique experience of developing a virtual model based on historical material, which will be applied on-site.

Digital Biometric Twin of a Professional

The project entitled “Digital Biometric Twin of a Professional is being implemented within the ISSH Faculty of Psychology (project leader is the Dean of the Faculty of Psychology, Head of the SUSU Department of Developmental Psychology, Doctor of Sciences (Psychology), Professor Elena Soldatova). The project is targeted at developing a technology for professional self-identification of contemporary students.

Within the project, it is planned to apply the innovative technology of a digital twin, being developed in engineering and medicine, in order to create individual educational trajectories of students.

Introduction of the digital twin technology includes organisation of psychological service for the technology implementation (consultations upon results of diagnostics, infividual profession-oriented counseling, training and development groups). By the results of the project, a service for self-diagnostics of professionally important qualities and correction of psychological features of a person in regard with the chosen professional trajectory is to be elaborated.

“Development of project-based learning at the university is the new cooperative work of a number of the university’s subdivisions, which was initiated by Rector Aleksandr Shestakov. Successful implementation of project-based learning depends on well-coordinated work of all project team members, as well as on the quality on inter-institute and inter-faculty relations.”

“We – managers of the Project-Based Learning project – would like to say thanks to everyone who got included into this hard and interesting work, and who is open for experiments. So far we see the first results that are already impressing, because each of our colleagues and the entire team of the university have the necessity in cooperative work for SUSU’s well-being, and the faith that everything is going to work out.”

Yulia Rudneva; photo by: Oleg Igoshin
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